A few months ago, I had the pleasure of talking extensively with a young Italian opera star, introduced to me by a dear friend — a former MSCO team member — who now lives abroad.
I never met the diva– a rising star in the operatic world — but we emailed and spoke often. I was intrigued by the details of her meteoric rise to the heights of her art and found her answers on how she navigated to the top of her field to be highly intelligent and infused with a deep passion for her talent and that of her mentors.
It always fascinates me how people rise to the Pantheon of greatness, making the hundreds of cuts it takes to climb above the ranks of uber talented competitors and soar to the championship levels. I have observed this in business, sports, innovation — have always been captivated by it – and thus my ability to understand the singer’s ascension was completely enthralling and instructive.
And then one moonless, pitch black, night at 2:42 am I awoke from a sound sleep and knew, instinctively, that it was all an abject and total fraud. That the singer was not who she said she was. That the meticulously detailed story of ambition, drive and front page success was a fairy tale concocted more to delude the teller of the tale than any of her gullible audiences, myself included. What began as a nocturnal blip on the radar screen turned out to be true.
The over-riding point however has virtually nothing to do with opera or this particular surreal experience. Rather, it reflects the fact that what we feel in the vulnerable isolation of the night is often more reflective of the truth than the “realities” of the day.
When we wake, we don our armour, slip on our masks, gird ourselves to do battle with the demons (real and imagined) that run through our days. The “friendly” competitors, the “devoted” lovers, the “best” friends — many of whom are imposters in disguise. Encased as we are in our protective shields, we often miss, overlook or reject the truths are waiting to be discovered.
But at night when we awake with a piercing thought or a bad dream, it is very likely a prescient and unexplained vision of the unvarnished truth. Every time we reject these insights and seek protection in the slumber that the sirens of the night awoke us from, we are opening ourselves to the myths that all is fine, love is safe, friends are dear, business is strong.
And that the opera singer’s fantasies are the stuff of rare and glorious legends.
The night may reveal nothing but a false alarm, but if we are to prevail, if we are to detect the frauds in our midst, we should view the epiphanies as a form of communication we cannot explain. But should never ignore.Email This Post